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Research focused on discovery: Minister Kirsty Duncan highlights Canada’s support for researchers at Polytechnique

July 11, 2019 - Source : NEWS

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, federal Minister of Science and Sport, celebrated $10 million in scholarships and grants to more than 40 researchers at Polytechnique.

At an event held at Galerie Rolland, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan spoke about the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), provided through the Discovery Grants Program, for the innovative research activities carried out by students and researchers at Polytechnique in various engineering fields.

The Discovery Grants Program is designed to promote and maintain a diversified base of high-quality research capability in natural sciences and engineering in Canadian universities, foster research excellence, and provide a stimulating environment for research training.

The scholarships and grants awarded to Polytechnique researchers are part of an investment by the federal government of over $588 million announced by Ms. Duncan in May 2019 to support the research of more than 4,850 researchers and students across Canada.

“What an incredible opportunity we have today to recognize the scientific discoveries and researchers of tomorrow,” said Ms. Duncan. “NSERC’s Discovery Grants promote Canadian research excellence. They support a diverse group of promising early-career researchers and give them the freedom to pursue ideas without boundaries. They also provide an incredible environment in which to train the next generation of research leaders.”

François Bertrand, Danika Goosney, Kirsty Duncan, Sarah Dorner, Rachel Bendayan, Annie Ross (Photo : Denis Bernier Photographe)

Left to right: François Bertrand, Senior Vice-President and Vice-President, Academic and Research at Polytechnique Montréal; Danika Goosney, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, federal Minister of Science and Sport; Sarah Dorner, Professor in the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal; Rachel Bendayan, Member of Parliament for the riding of Outremont; Annie Ross, Associate Director, Academic and Research Directorate, and head of the Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Research at Polytechnique Montréal. (Photo: Denis Bernier Photographe)

Developing research expertise

François Bertrand, Senior Vice-President and Vice-President, Academic and Research at Polytechnique Montréal, pointed out that NSERC’s Discovery Grants Program and its related funding programs enable the engineering university to further develop its research expertise.

“With the support of NSERC, these research teams can unleash their creativity and explore promising avenues, both in fundamental and applied sciences, in sectors ranging from energy to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and biomedical or environmental engineering,” Mr. Bertrand said. “For our researchers, these grants support expertise diversity and enable them to push the boundaries of knowledge.”

Major support for researchers

Sarah Dorner, Professor in the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering at Polytechnique, told of how a discovery grant had enabled her to quickly launch her research program at the institution while in the early stages of her career.

Professor Dorner also stressed the importance of NSERC’s Discovery Grants Program for her faculty colleagues who conduct research, as well as the research team she is a part of.

“We study water quality in the context of climate and global change,” Professor Dorner said. “This year, we experienced flooding again on the Ottawa River and in the greater Montréal area. But what about water quality?

“Fortunately, with our NSERC grants, we were able to monitor the water throughout the spring flood. This research leads to important discoveries, sometimes even unexpected ones. These discoveries help us build healthier and more resilient communities today and for the future,” she concluded.

At the end of the presentations, Ms. Duncan, the federal government representatives and members of the media visited the laboratory of the Centre de recherche, développement et validation des technologies et procédés de traitement des eaux (centre for research, development and validation of water treatment technologies and methods—CREDEAU). Accompanied by Professor Dorner and research associate Jean-Baptiste Burnet, visitors had the opportunity to speak with researchers and students about their research in water analysis and treatment.

Jean-Baptiste Burnet, Rachel Bendayan, Kisrty Duncan, Sarah Dorner. (Photo : Denis Bernier Photographe)

Research Associate Jean-Baptiste Burnet (left) and Professor Sarah Dorner (right) explain the research conducted in the CREDEAU laboratory to Rachel Bendayan, Member of Parliament for the riding of Outremont, and to the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, federal Minister of Science and Sport (centre). (Photo: Denis Bernier Photographe)

It should be noted that Polytechnique Montréal formalized its endorsement of the federal government’s Dimensions program, which advocates equity, diversity and inclusion in research at post-secondary institutions.

Learn More

Website of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Data sheet of the NSERC Discovery Grants Program
Expertise profile of Professor Sarah Dorner
Website of the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering (in French only)
Website of the Centre de recherche, développement et validation des technologies et procédés de traitement des eaux (CREDEAU)
Website of research and innovation at Polytechnique Montréal (in French only)

Suggested Reading

NEWS |  February 15, 2017
Projects led by three Polytechnique Montréal professors awarded NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants  |  Read
NEWS |  March 6, 2018
Science and Innovation: Minister Joly’s briefing at Polytechnique Montréal  |  Read